Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Is Christian Truth Flexible?

Thus says the LORD: "Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' (Jer 6.16 ESV)

In the United States there are two camps concerning the Constitution: one camp believes the document is to be read and understood as it was intended to be understood when first penned. The second camp believes the Constitution is a "living document" that needs to be re-interpreted as times change.

We have the same problem in Christianity. The first group believes the doctrine of The Faith stands given (Jude 3) while the second group believes that we should re-interpret the Bible to keep up with the changing times.

Is the Bible a living document? Should it be re-interpreted as time progesses and as attitudes and opinions shift in society? John Wesley would say, "No!" He preaches:

"How much more are they troubled at the injuries wicked men are continually offering to God!This was the circumstance which made the contradiction of sinners so severe a trial to our Lord himself: 'He that despiseth me, despiseth Him that sent me.' And how are these despisers now multiplied upon earth! Who fear not the Son, neither the Father. How are we surrounded with those who blaspheme the Lord and his Anointed; either reviling the whole of his glorious gospel, or making him a liar as to some of the blessed truths which he hath graciously revealed therein!How many of those who profess to believe the whole, yet, in effect preach another gospel; so disguising the most essential doctrines thereof by their new interpretations, as to retain the words only, but nothing of 'the faith once delivered to the saints!'" (Sermons, # 127, "The Trouble and Rest of Good Men")

Like it or not, we have a back leather cover for our Bibles. There are 66 books in the inspired list that Protestants acknowledge. Our mission is to figure out what the writer meant when he wrote to the original audience. We should never ask, "What does this passage mean to me?" Who cares what it means to us! Rather, our responsibility is to ask, "What has this passage always meant?"